Have you ever wanted to make a small hot air balloon to watch it rise elegantly into the night sky? It's easier and cheaper than you think! It is possible to make a small hot air balloon that flies from a plastic bag, a few straws, and a handful of birthday candles.
Part 1 of 4: Prepare
Step 1. Find a bag
Find a thin plastic bag. Your best bet is to use a thin, inexpensive garbage bag. It should be transparent or translucent. Do not use a good quality garbage bag, as it will be too thick. You can also use a dry cleaning garment bag. In this case, make sure that this is the type of cover used to protect the shirts and seal the opening at the top with duct tape.
Do not use a plastic shopping bag, as it will be too small and heavy
Step 2. Check the condition of the bag
Place the plastic bag in front of a small fan to make sure there is no hole in it. Put the bag opening in front of the fan making sure there is no space in between. Switch on the device. The bag should inflate like a balloon. If he doesn't, he may have a hole in it. Mark the holes and cover them with masking tape.
Step 3. Check the weather conditions
If you want to fly the hot air balloon outdoors, you have to take the weather into account. It must be cool because the hot air balloon will not fly well in hot weather. Also make sure there is no wind. The slightest breeze can prevent the balloon from flying. The best times are dawn and dusk. These are the quietest times of the day.
Cold winter days when the pressure is high are the best for getting your homemade hot air balloon flying
Step 4. Choose a suitable room
If you want to fly the hot air balloon indoors, do so in a large empty room. It should be very spacious and not contain rugs or curtains, because if the ball lands near such a fabric item, it could set it on fire. A garage or a gymnasium are ideal places to fly a mini-balloon.
Step 5. Keep water on hand
Place a bucket full of water or a fire extinguisher within easy reach. You must take precautions when using fire. If a child is flying the hot air balloon, it should always be supervised by an adult.
Part 2 of 4: making the basket
Step 1. Cut out aluminum foil
Cut a 10 x 10 cm square of aluminum foil. You will use it to make the basket. Pay attention to sharp edges.
Step 2. Mark the location of the candles
Make four felt dots on the aluminum foil. Each point should be 2 or 3 cm from one of the angles. You are going to place the candles on these points.
Step 3. Prepare the candles
Take two birthday candles and cut them in half. This will make the balloon lighter and fly more easily.
Step 4. Expose the wicks
Remove the wax from the top of two of the half candles to expose a small portion of the wick. You will notice that the top halves of the candles you cut in half have a wick sticking out, but the bottom halves do not. Use your fingernail to remove some wax from the top of these halves so that small strands come out. You must get four birthday candles.
Step 5. Glue the candles to the foil
Use a lighter to lightly melt the bottom of a candle. Run a little hot wax on one of the dots you drew on the aluminum foil. Place the candle on the small puddle of wax and hold it in place until the wax hardens. Repeat the process with the other three candles.
If it is a child who makes the hot air balloon, this step must be carried out under the supervision of an adult
Step 6. Lift up the edges of the square
Fold the edges of the aluminum foil up about 1 cm to form the basket. Be careful not to touch the candles, as they can come off easily. The raised edges will hold the melted wax that will flow from the candles.
Part 3 of 4: making the framework
Step 1. Measure the opening of the bag
Place a ruler between two opposite sides of the bag opening and note the distance. The rods of the frame must have this length.
Step 2. Prepare the straws for the frame
Use straws to form two chopsticks of the length you just noted to form the structure on which the bag will rest. To tie two straws together, make a small cut in the end of one and slide the notched part into the end of the other straw. Wrap a piece of duct tape around the part where they fit together. Add more straws this way until you get a chopstick of the required length.
If you are using flexible straws, cut off the part that bends
Step 3. Cross the two chopsticks
Lay the chopsticks on top of each other so that they cross in the middle, forming an X.
Step 4. Tie the chopsticks together
Secure the chopsticks with a little duct tape. Do not use too much, as you will weigh down the frame too much. It is best to use thin transparent tape. The chatterton is much too heavy.
Step 5. Use balsa sticks
You can use thin balsa sticks instead of straws. Buy it at a hobby store. They have a square or rectangular end. Cut two chopsticks to give them the desired length. Put a dot of wood glue in the middle of one of them and place the other on top, forming an X. Wait for the glue to dry.
- Look for the thinnest sticks possible. They will be the lightest and allow the balloon to fly more easily.
- Do not buy wooden rods, as this is heavier than balsa and will not be able to fly.
Part 4 of 4: assemble and fly the hot air balloon
Step 1. Place the pod on the frame
Place the basket containing the candles on the straws or crossed balsa sticks. When looking at the assembly from above, the candles should be between the rods of the frame. Its very important. If you position the candles directly above the straws, the heat will burn them and melt them and the weight will be unbalanced.
Step 2. Secure the pod to the frame
Tape the foil to the straws with masking tape. Place a piece of adhesive tape under one of the branches of the frame and glue it below the basket. Repeat the process with the other three branches and the other three sides of the basket.
Step 3. Attach the bag to the frame
Secure the bottom of the bag to the frame with duct tape. Glue a corner of the bag to one end of one of the branches. Tie the opposite corner to the other end of this branch. Repeat the process with the other two corners of the bag and the other branch of the frame to create a square opening.
Step 4. Attach a wire to the hot air balloon
Tie a long wire to the frame and hold its other end. If you don't want to hold it, you can also tie it to a table, chair, or fence. It is extremely important. If you don't, the bag may fly out of reach and get stuck somewhere. Use a thin, light thread, such as sewing thread.
Step 5. Put down the hot air balloon
Lay the assembly on a flat surface and hold the bag over the candles. Try to keep it as loose as possible. This step and the next will be easier with the help of a friend.
Step 6. Light the candles
Be careful not to hit or knock over the candles, or set the bag on fire. A long gas lighter will surely make your job easier. Don't let a child light the candles.
Step 7. Wait for the bag to inflate
Hold the bag over the lit candles until it fills with air and stays up on its own. It will take a minute or two.
Step 8. Let go of the bag
It will not fly away immediately, but after a while it will start to rise into the air on its own. Remember to hold the wire it's connected to or tie it to something. As long as the candles are lit, the hot air balloon will stay in the air.
- Depending on the total size and weight of the hot air balloon, more candles may need to be used.
- You could use a bag made of biodegradable material in case the mini balloon escapes and gets lost outside.
- The bigger the bag, the more hot air it can hold and the better it can fly.
- Be careful that the bag does not melt while it is filling with air.
- Stay well away from trees, curtains and dry grass.
- Always take the necessary safety precautions when working with fire and keep a fire extinguisher or water handy.
- Be aware that the bag may catch fire and fall to the ground.